T Nation

Q&A part 1

Do you know enough to justify going to war with Iraq?

  1. Q: What percentage of the world’s population does the U.S. have?
    A: 6%
  2. Q: What percentage of the world’s wealth does the U.S. have?
    A: 50%
  3. Q: Which country has the largest oil reserves?
    A: Saudi Arabia
  4. Q: Which country has the second largest oil reserves?
    A: Iraq
  5. Q: How much is spent on military budgets a year worldwide?
    A: $900+ billion
  6. Q: How much of this is spent by the U.S.?
    A: 50%
  7. Q: What percent of US military spending would ensure the essentials
    of life to everyone in the world, according the UN?
    A: 10% (that’s about$40 billion, the amount of funding initially
    requested to fund our retaliatory attack on Afghanistan).
  8. Q: How many people have died in wars since World War II?
    A: 86 million
  9. Q: How long has Iraq had chemical and biological weapons?
    A: Since the early 1980’s.
  10. Q: Did Iraq develop these chemical & biological weapons on their own?
    A: No, the materials and technology were supplied by the US government,
    along with Britain and private corporations.
  11. Q: Did the US government condemn the Iraqi use of gas warfare
    against Iran?
    A: No
  12. Q: How many people did Saddam Hussein kill using gas in the Kurdish
    town of Halabja in 1988?
    A: 5,000
  13. Q: How many western countries condemned this action at the time?
    A: 0
  14. Q: How many gallons of agent Orange did America use in Vietnam?
    A: 17million.
  15. Q: Are there any proven links between Iraq and September 11th terrorist attack?
    A: No
  16. Q: What is the estimated number of civilian casualties in the Gulf
    War?
    A: 35,000
  17. Q: How many casualties did the Iraqi military inflict on the
    western forces during the Gulf War ?
    A: 0
  18. Q: How many retreating Iraqi soldiers were buried alive by U.S.
    tanks with ploughs mounted on the front?
    A: 6,000
  19. Q: How many tons of depleted uranium were left in Iraq and Kuwait
    after the Gulf War?
    A: 40 tons
  20. Q: What according to the UN was the increase in cancer rates in
    Iraq between 1991 and 1994?
    A: 700%
  21. Q: How much of Iraq’s military capacity did America claim it had
    destroyed in 1991?
    A: 80%
  22. Q: Is there any proof that Iraq plans to use its weapons for
    anything other than deterrence and self defense?
    A: No
  23. Q: Does Iraq present more of a threat to world peace now than 10
    years ago?
    A: No
  24. Q: How many civilian deaths has the Pentagon predicted in the event
    of an attack on Iraq in 2002/3?
    A: 10,000
  25. Q: What percentage of these will be children?
    A:Over 50%

Charles Sheketoff, Executive Director Oregon Center for Public Policy
PO
Box 7, Silverton, OR 97381

Q: Do I ever listen to a thing Say has to say on the Off-Topic board now that I’ve realized he’s a rambling, left-wing lunatic?

A: No

Dear Say,

Charles Sheketoff, Executive Director Oregon Center for Public Policy figures are incorrect. There are other sources for the answers to each of your questions and guess what most of them don’t agree! Big Surprize!!!

Best of Luck.

Actually, Say, I have a better question.

How many American lives would be lost if a nuclear weapon were given/sold to terrorists and detonated in the middle of New York or Washington?

Say, are you also Mike the Lib?

I’m with you on this, Doc. (Like you couldn’t tell from my previous posts). I was going to suggest that Say was short for Sayib, but suggesting he’s Iraqi would be inaccurate, as I feel the Iraqi people themselves would love to see saddam ousted.

TEK
Could be, but I’m more inclined to think he’s “Non-American” who’s posts mysteriously disappeared the same time “Say” began posting.

Whatever happened to Mike the Libertarian? He always stirred up a lot of trouble. Like with the whole nambla thing. Quite fun.

Q: the # of specific Q’s noted which have numbers which do not agree with other sources
A: 0 (+ the yes/no ones are probably more relevant)

Q: Probability that Say=Mike the Lib
A: 0%

Q: # of years Say has been posting on the T-Mag Forum
A: since ~1 month after it went online, or ~2.5yrs?

His numbers are inflated, the US has only 5% of the world’s population.

Here are the responses:

  1. Q: What percentage of the world’s population does the U.S. have?


    A: 6%


    Relevance: 0%

  2. Q: What percentage of the world’s wealth does the U.S. have?


    A: 50%


    Relevance: 0% – who cares how much wealth is in the U.S.? And how does that relate to whether the objective of achieving a regime change in Iraq is correct?

  3. Q: Which country has the largest oil reserves?


    A: Saudi Arabia


    Relevance: None

  4. Q: Which country has the second largest oil reserves?


    A: Iraq


    Relevance: None. If we wanted the oil, it would be much easier to lift the sanctions and get the oil. Saddam has expressed many times that he would trade access to oil for an end to the sanctions. And, surprise, given the amount we spend on defense, this would be “Free,” in that it would cost us no money to lift the sanctions. The whole idea that the U.S. is doing this for oil is so ludicrous that it has even been dropped by the Democrats in Congress – even though they still can’t figure out that “unilateral” doesn’t mean “opposed by France and Germany.”

  5. Q: How much is spent on military budgets a year worldwide?


    A: $900+ billion


    Relevance: None

  6. Q: How much of this is spent by the U.S.?


    A: 50%


    Relevance: None – who cares? And if you’re silly enough to believe that we need to start a war to justify military expenditures, note that the greatest amount of “Cold War” military spending, which as a % of GDP was higher than today’s (although our worldwide % was smaller), was in peacetime.

  7. Q: What percent of US military spending would ensure the essentials
    of life to everyone in the world, according the UN?


    A: 10% (that’s about$40 billion, the amount of funding initially
    requested to fund our retaliatory attack on Afghanistan).


    Relevance: None. Firstly, even purporting to make a figure like that is ludicrous, given the vagaries that go into such a concept. Secondly, the U.S. government can spend the taxpayers money on any Constitutional purpose it sees fit – and, surprise here, national defense is one of the few responsibilities that everyone, even Libertarians, agrees falls on the national government.

  8. Q: How many people have died in wars since World War II?


    A: 86 million


    Relevance: None – Who cares? What does this have to do with the legitimacy of a military action to effect a regime change in Iraq?

  9. Q: How long has Iraq had chemical and biological weapons?


    A: Since the early 1980’s.


    Relevance: None. Is there some sort of statute of limitations on possession of chemical and biological weapons of which the rest of us are unaware? If there is a serial killer out there who has gotten away with it for 20 years, should that stop us from going after and stopping him? No.

  10. Q: Did Iraq develop these chemical & biological weapons on their own?


    A: No, the materials and technology were supplied by the US government,
    along with Britain and private corporations.


    Relevance: None. U.S. private companies make guns, drugs, and all sorts of things – as do French, German, Russian and other corporations. Who cares how he got them? The fact of the matter is that he is dangerous, unstable, and if he doesn’t give them up, as he agreed to do in the treaty to end the Gulf War, we will go in there and take them away.

  11. Q: Did the US government condemn the Iraqi use of gas warfare
    against Iran?


    A: No


    Relevance: None. Did the fact that the previous administrations had tolerated slavery prevent Lincoln from acting against the Confederacy when it seceded? Besides, on a grander scale, does making one mistake or taking a wrong position in the past prevent you from taking the correct position going forward? Of course not.

  12. Q: How many people did Saddam Hussein kill using gas in the Kurdish
    town of Halabja in 1988?


    A: 5,000


    Relevance: 0% – Once again, this has nothing to do with the question at hand.

  13. Q: How many western countries condemned this action at the time?


    A: 0


    Relevance: See answer for #11.

  14. Q: How many gallons of agent Orange did America use in Vietnam?


    A: 17million.


    Relevance: None – firstly, that was a defoliating agent; secondly, that has absolutely no relevance to the question of regime change in Iraq. <p<

  15. Q: Are there any proven links between Iraq and September 11th terrorist attack?


    A: No


    Relevance: Ah, finally something related to the point – where are we now – oh, point 15… Anyway, the word “proven” (note – should be “proved”) is key. Czech intelligence maintains that an Iraqi intelligence officer met with members of the group that perpetrated the Sept. 11 attacks in Prague. That should be fairly reliable. Secondly, the statement you made was “links between Iraq and the September 11 terrorist attack.” However, the links put forth by Colin Powell in his speech have to do with terrorist organizations in general, which we can surely fight irrespective of any direct link to September 11.

  16. Q: What is the estimated number of civilian casualties in the Gulf
    War?


    A: 35,000


    Relevance: This is relevant. However, from where did this estimation spring? Is it accurate? And who would inflict the casualties, us or Saddam on his own people? If the latter, this is tragic, but it does not affect the legitimacy of our aims or the means of achieving them.

  17. Q: How many casualties did the Iraqi military inflict on the
    western forces during the Gulf War ?


    A: 0


    Relevance: None. Not to mention that it is wholly innaccurate.

  18. Q: How many retreating Iraqi soldiers were buried alive by U.S.
    tanks with ploughs mounted on the front?


    A: 6,000


    Relevance: None. Also, I’ve never heard this before, which, although it doesn’t mean it’s not true, makes me wonder why it didn’t come out a long time ago. However, it’s not relevant.

  19. Q: How many tons of depleted uranium were left in Iraq and Kuwait
    after the Gulf War?


    A: 40 tons


    Relevance: None. I’m tired of pointing out that these things have no relevance to the current situation.

  20. Q: What according to the UN was the increase in cancer rates in
    Iraq between 1991 and 1994?


    A: 700%


    Relevance: None. Besides the fact that you have absolutely no causation evidence, this is irrelevant anyway.

  21. Q: How much of Iraq’s military capacity did America claim it had
    destroyed in 1991?


    A: 80%


    Relevance: So what?

  22. Q: Is there any proof that Iraq plans to use its weapons for
    anything other than deterrence and self defense?


    A: No


    Relevance: Ah, finally another relevant point. However, it doesn’t apply to the treaty violations, or to the logic of Saddam’s position. Whom does he neet to deter? The weapons obviously aren’t enough to deter us, right? And which of his neighbors is territorially agressive toward Iraq? Saddam is the only one who has started external wars in that immediate area since he came to power, and the only one who has started any wars since WW2 that weren’t aimed at the Israelis. Finally, for a little historical simile, was there any “proof” Hitler planned to use any of the military that he built up in contravention of the Versaille treaty? No.

  23. Q: Does Iraq present more of a threat to world peace now than 10
    years ago?


    A: No


    Relvance: Irrelevant. While it might at first seem relevant, return again to the analysis for point #11.

  24. Q: How many civilian deaths has the Pentagon predicted in the event
    of an attack on Iraq in 2002/3?


    A: 10,000


    Relevance: Some – I notice this number is different than the number of casualties from your earlier estimate – in that the previous estimate was 350% greater. Anyway though, this also does not say who will inflict the casualties, which goes to your next point. However, when was the last time you heard of a war with 0 casualties? They will be minimized, but they cannot be eliminated.

  25. Q: What percentage of these will be children?


    A:Over 50%


    Relevance: Some, but again, it very much depends on who is causing the casualties, which your little figures don’t go into – mostly because, as we all know, one of the things people fear is that Saddam will starve/gas/run over/otherwise kill his own civilians.


    I stayed at work extra late just because this annoyed me so much – you need to apply some basic logic skills to your positions. There are principled positions that are internally consistent that are anti-war – I don’t agree with them, but they are at least logical and relevant. This is mostly just stupid.

You should stick to the T&N forum. I remember learning a lot of things from you there about Dino training and things like that, but this, this is propaganda, pure and simple. It’s hard to believe that anyone who’s smart enough to understand the things that they talk about on here would believe these overinflated antiwar “stats”. Did anyone else think it was funny that all of the antiwar rallies were run by a socialist party here in the states? Just something to think about.

If I sound like a left-wing lunatic, it’s because I’ve lived in BC for 22yrs where everyone supports the NDP. (might as well be communist) & what you guys call “anti-Bush propaganda” is just other sources not published in North America. It makes no sense to me that the USA is, only now, deciding to go after crippled Iraq saying (with only blurry satellite pics of a truck) that they’ve got chem/bio weapons, especially when the UN inspectors show up somewhere unannounced & don’t find anything. I can’t underatand how it wouldn’t be all about oil, since of course Bush used to work in that industry & oil companies funded is presidential campaign. http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/RRiraqWar.html
Their claims sound hypocritical as well when they dropped all that Agent Orange on Vietnam. Maybe they didn’t intend it to be a chemical weapon, but there is a list of about 30 things (like malignant tumors & birth defects, etc) which are recognised to be related to Agent Orange exposure. I also don’t understand why Bush wanted to INCREASE spending on defense once he became pres when there are so many people below the poverty line, no health care & a huge debt. & NOW HE’S CREATED A TAX CUT WHEN THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE PREPARING FOR WAR??? Did I miss something?? + if the USA has 6% of the world’s population, so they should probably have 6% of the world’s wealth shouldn’t they? Maybe that would be a better PR move, helping other countries get on their feet, but then that wouldn’t be good for business.

  • I don’t post as much on the T&N forum because everyone seems to ask questions that a bunch of others can answer. If someone asks about something really obscure-sounding or asks for me, I’d reply more.

I was going to post a reply to this, but BB did such an amazing job that I won’t bother. Bravo!

Say, Say… Is it a little more difficult to win arguments with people who can actually think? Just curious to see how you’ll respond (if you respond at all) to what’s been written above.

Hello all…I just wanted to add a few points of my own to the discussion.

First off, I don't think that dismissing most of Nathan's (Say's) points as being irrelevant is the right thing to do. A lot of those facts that he mentioned (if correct) establish the context between the two nations and illustrate the often hypocritical world of international politics.

"Let he who is without guilt cast the first stone". The United States cannot claim to be wholly irresponsible for what is going on (and has gone on for decades) in the middle east. There have been many times when US forces/agents have supported various regimes in order to depose other regimes. This is unfortunate, because the US is in the position to aid via positive assistance rather than negative (violent) "assistance". In addition, many times after the dirty work is done, those same agents and forces disappear, leaving the country with a new regime but no stability (i.e. Afghanistan).

I often find it useful in everyday life to look through other's eyes - like the old saying goes "walk a mile in their shoes". Picture if we were in Iraq and a major world power was threatening not only our leader (who we may or may not support), but our very extistence and livelihood. This major power has chemical/biological weapons. They have nuclear warheads. They have a large and reasonably-trained army. There are no sanctions against this country, and they can (and probably will) act violently towards us without the support of the majority of the rest of the world. They also hate us, hate our country, and have little compassion for us civilians. Would you not want to arm yourself? Would you not want to support a program that develops weapons for defence of your livelihood? Most of you do in America, so why should it be different elsewhere in the world?

Lastly, it often worries me when people are so quick to accept the casualties of another group of people. One poster above mentioned something along the callous lines of "casualties happen in war". How willing would you be to accept civilian casualties if they happened in your city/town/state? Would you keep the same attitude when your wife, daughter, son, grandmother, friend et cetera were incinerated by an inaccurate bomb? It is almost impossible to imagine the daily fear of being a country at war when the battlefield is your home. I have not been to war, but I know what fear feels like, and I also know what it is like to lose someone close. Think about what it would be like to have the most deadly fear you've ever experienced on a daily basis. I bet you'd hate whatever country/leader was making you feel that way.

I hope that my comments have come across as reasonable and logical, although it seems like it may have been a bit of an emotional rant. I am not anti-American, but I am also not an American citizen. I am also not pro-Saddam, but I am very definitely for the people of Iraq just as I am for the people of any other country in the world. Thanks for your time.

Say,you are definitely right on many of these points, I support you 100%, many of these points are very relevant, I’d like also to say 1 thing as a French national, don’t say we don’t like the US, not true,we are like 80% of the people on this planet, we don’t like the Bush administration and we are lynched because we dare having a different point of vue but as far as I know we are entitled to do so.

Oh dear lord, you’re so off on the majority of what you’re saying. I don’t have time at the moment to go into detail, so I’ll leave it to somebody who does have the time.

Say, please think critically and stop accepting propaganda as your facts.

I gotta agree with Cam Birtwell on this one… well said. Most of the citizens of these countries are actually pro-American… just not pro-Bush. In some of these places, Iran for example, the religious leaders actually pay people to show up at their anti-US demonstrations. Most of the people don’t support it at all and think these demonstrations are a waste of time. They don’t really like their leaders either, but that’s what you get when you mix politics with religion.

I must say that the rebuttal from BB was excellent. I would like to further add that these stats, even if most are correct are taken out of context. The fact that America is the richest country in the world should not be held against it. We and our families worked very hard to make it that way.
Saddam Hussian has violated every aggreement he ever made, in spades, to the nth degree. Again I think what bothers people is the timing. Why now, after all these years is America going back to enforce his aggreements? The fact of the matter is we should have done this in 1998 but we had a pussy in the white house with a fabulous “do nothing” foreign policy.
Also, historically, ignoring the military build up of a rogue nation has proven disaterous. The policy of appeasement in the 1930’s led to WW2. It was stupid then and it is stupid now. Iraq did have a military build up since 1998. This information was forwarded from some Iraqi higher-ups (who escaped, so as not to be killed) who did interviews. I viewed these interviews on the Discovery Channel. Iraq has also mastered hiding these buildups. They knew they were being watched. According to these people this did happen. A good question to ask is why whould Saddam do this if he knew it could result in such a backlash and possible war. The only resonable explination is aggression.
I am not a war monger, I am willing to give peace a chance. Understand though, that all Saddam has to do is disarm and verify. He will remain in power, sanctions will be lifted and war will be avioded. I do not know whats hard about that. He lost a war, he made aggreements that allowed him to stay in power, and he has violated every one of them. He needs to make amends or be put in check-mate. Peace at all costs leads to oppresion, it is a bad policy.
I think Bush screwed up asking permission and going to the UN. If he wanted Saddam we should have gone in and got him, screw world opinion. The world has a short memory, sometimes America should exploit that fact.
Given the current climate, I am still for waiting. I believe we could hit a happy medium with Russia and pass a resolution that would put 10,000 weapons inpectors in Iraq and a UN peace keeping force with any violations resulting in military action. When Iraq refuses, Bombs Away! But I am willing to give more time to make the world happy and allow the sliver of hope that Saddam will comply and disarm, but he won’t. We will go to war sooner or just soon. Sorry for the long post, I could go on forever.

Say is spouting some more leftist, hippie bullshit. My government has the responsibility to protect my family and every other American family. If you don’t like America or appreciate our freedom and liberties (something the Iraqi people DO NOT have) then go move to France or Germany. When they decide to come around, it’ll be too late…